HSE 330 Final Project Guidelines and Rubric Overview The final project for this course is the creation of a policy analysis and recommendations paper. Throughout this course we have discussed how public policy is formed, including the legislative and private sector processes of policy development, key stakeholders and their interests, and the potential impact of policy on intended beneficiaries as well as the process of assessing policy outcomes. As a human services professional, you will be directly exposed to the needs of a diverse population and will be uniquely positioned to advocate for social policies that effectively meet those needs. Your role is particularly important since the intended beneficiaries of social services often have little direct voice in the policy process, while those who are making the policies are seldom directly impacted by them. Without input from client and community advocates, even wellintentioned social welfare policies have the potential to go awry. Policy decisions also directly affect the framework under which human services professionals do their jobs, and poorly designed policies can complicate rather than strengthen effective service delivery. For your final project, you will imagine you are employed as a human services professional in your desired area of interest. You have been asked to prepare a brief policy paper analyzing a particular piece of human services legislation and to make policy recommendations for better meeting the needs of your client base. Using a specific piece of state or federal legislation that you have identified and researched in this course, you will assess the strengths and/or weaknesses of the legislation in addressing the needs of clients, bearing in mind the cultural, social, political, historical, and economic context in which the legislation was proposed. You should also consider how other similar legislation currently before state or federal legislative bodies might impact the legislation, and any legal or ethical concerns. Based on your analysis, your paper should explain your organization’s position on the legislation being considered, propose areas for improvement, and recommend strategies for building coalitions to support your position. Your analysis and recommendations should take into account the various interest groups or stakeholders that may influence the legislation being considered, including the roles of media, lobbying groups, community groups, beneficiaries, and concerned individuals and how political, social, or economic concerns may affect implementation. The analysis in the policy brief should be based on an evaluative, comprehensive literature review focused on the identified social problem and legislation and a background analysis conducted earlier in the course. The project is divided into three milestones, which will be submitted at various points throughout the course to scaffold learning and ensure quality final submissions. These milestones will be submitted in Modules Three, Four, and Five. The final project will be submitted in Module Seven. In this assignment, you will demonstrate your mastery of the following course outcomes: HSE-330-01: Evaluate the process by which private sector and legislative agencies develop and implement new human services policies in identifying advocacy and coalition-building opportunities HSE-330-02: Employ audience-appropriate communications strategies that build support for desired social change HSE-330-03: Examine human services legislation for its potential legal and ethical impact on intended beneficiaries in advocating for policies that promote appropriate care HSE-330-04: Analyze the implications of social, political, and economic factors in the development and implementation of effective human services legislation HSE-330-05: Examine the influence of culture and diversity on human services policy in proposing legislative changes to better serve diverse populations Prompt Remember to use language, presentation style, and communication strategies appropriate to your intended audience as you develop the paper. Because policymakers, lobbyists, and other leaders within the policy field seldom have time to read long, academic papers, your document should be brief (6–10 pages) if you want to effectively engage their support. Specifically, the following critical elements must be addressed: I. Cover Page and Executive Summary. Your paper should begin with a cover page or other audience-appropriate heading that identifies who you are (your name, the organization you are imagining you work for, and your imagined title within that organization), and the intended audience for the analysis (e.g., a particular policymaker, a legislative committee, leaders from a potential ally organization, leadership in your own organization, etc.). You should also include a very brief executive summary of the social problem and legislation being considered. The cover page and summary should use language and a format appropriate for your selected audience. II. Background. In this brief introductory section, you will put the legislation under consideration in context, as a preface to explaining your organization’s position. Specifically, you should use the background analysis you have completed earlier in the course to: a. Briefly examine how major social, political, and economic events and other legislation have set the stage for the specific legislation you are considering. Be sure to provide specific examples in your response. b. Briefly analyze the effectiveness of previous and existing human services legislation on the selected topic. Do the policies or programs effectively address the needs of the intended beneficiaries? Why or why not? Provide evidence to support your answer. c. Succinctly examine whether previous and existing policies address the human services challenge in ways that are sensitive to meeting the needs of a diverse clientele and explain why or why not. Provide evidence to support your answer. d. Argue for why is it particularly urgent to address the social issue in the legislation and any related policy weaknesses now. Your reasons should use audience-specific language and be supported by evidence. Keep in mind that policymakers, lobbyists, and private sector leaders have multiple competing priorities, respond to pressures from different groups, and have limited time. Your arguments will be critical to getting and keeping their support. III. Your Position. In this section, you will lay out your organization’s position on the specific legislation being considered. It should be evident from your analysis that you have reviewed a full copy of the legislation and have researched the related issues and debate. Specifically, you should address the following points: a. Is your organization for or against the legislation? Why? Your answer should analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the legislation in terms of potential effectiveness, cost, public acceptance, and political feasibility. In other words, how might economic, social, or political factors (including other legislation) help or hinder the policy’s implementation and effectiveness? What specific concerns does your organization have? b. How might cultural, socioeconomic, and other diversity issues impact the quality and equity of services provided under the selected legislation? What concerns does your organization have? Provide examples to support your position. c. What legal or ethical matters related to the legislation is your organization concerned about, if any? Explain your answer and provide examples, if appropriate. d. Based on your analysis, how could the legislation in question be redesigned to better address the needs of intended beneficiaries? Be sure to address the following points and provide evidence to support your recommendations. i. How could the legislation better address diversity in meeting the needs of intended beneficiaries? ii. How could the legislation better address legal or ethical concerns in meeting beneficiaries’ needs? If there are no concerns specific to this legislation, make suggestions for how the legislation might help prevent legal or ethical concerns in future policies. Support your suggestions with evidence. iii. What other changes to the legislation would make it more effective in serving intended beneficiaries? Consider the cost, public acceptance, and political feasibility issues you identified above in making your suggestions. e. Be sure to use language and communication strategies appropriate for political or organizational leaders in explaining your organization’s position and recommendations. Remember the goal is to convince your audience that your analysis is credible without burdening them with undue detail. IV. Stakeholders and Coalition-Building. This section should cover which groups, individuals, and organizations support this legislation, which oppose it, and why. Specifically, you should address: a. Who should be responsible for developing, implementing, and paying for the changes you propose? Why? Your reasons should take into consideration the policy development process for human services legislation and different groups’ resources. b. Have the intended beneficiaries taken a position on the legislation being considered? If not, why not? If so, what is their position? How have they communicated it? Support your answer. c. What other groups, organizations, or individuals have an interest in the legislation? Do they support the legislation or oppose it? Why? For example, are there lobbyists, legislative groups, governors, celebrities, or other organizations that are strongly for or against the legislation? Why do they support or oppose it? Provide evidence to support your answer. d. What strategies would you recommend in building support for the changes you suggest? Be sure to identify potential allies as well as activities they might undertake to influence the policy process. You might want to consider how different levels of advocacy (e.g., community and grassroots campaigns, national advocacy groups, business, the media, global activism, etc.) could help build support for your position. V. References. Select references that are of sufficient quality, relevance, and credibility to be convincing to political or organization leaders and that support your analysis and recommendations. These should be included as an annex or “selected resources” list at the end of the document. Milestones Milestone One: Background Paper In Module Three, you will submit a background analysis paper on the piece of state or federal legislation you have identified for your final project. Visit state and federal legislative websites to explore and identify a human services specific piece of legislation/bill of interest to you. You are encouraged to use existing television interviews, previously published interviews, and websites from the sponsor of the legislation. You may reach out to a staffer or the sponsor of the piece of legislation, but this is not required. Create a timeline showing the history of the legislation you are analyzing, including relevant prior legislation and major social, political, and economic events that impacted the development of this legislation. This milestone is graded with the Milestone One Rubric. Milestone Two: Position Paper In Module Four, you will submit a paper stating your organization’s position on the specific legislation being considered. Make sure to state your role in your organization. It should be evident from your analysis that you have reviewed a full copy of the legislation and have researched the related issues and debates. This milestone is graded with the Milestone Two Rubric. Milestone Three: Stakeholder and Coalition Building Paper In Module Five, you will submit a paper that covers the groups, individuals, and organizations that support, as well as those that oppose, the legislation that you have selected, and why. This milestone is graded with the Milestone Three Rubric. Final Submission: Policy Analysis and Recommendation Paper In Module Seven, you will submit your final project. It should be a complete, polished artifact containing all of the critical elements of the final product. It should reflect the incorporation of feedback gained throughout the course. This submission will be graded with the Final Project Rubric. Deliverables Milestone Deliverable Module Due Grading 1 Background Paper 3 Graded separately; Milestone One Rubric 2 Position Paper 4 Graded separately; Milestone Two Rubric 3 Stakeholder and Coalition Building Paper 5 Graded separately; Milestone Three Rubric Final Submission: Policy Analysis and Recommendation Paper 7 Graded Separately; Final Project Rubric Final Project Rubric Guidelines for Submission: Your final project must be 6–10 pages in length (plus a cover page and references) and must be written in APA format. Use double spacing, 12-point Times New Roman font, and one-inch margins. Include at least five references cited in APA format. Critical Elements Exemplary (100%) Proficient (85%) Needs Improvement (55%) Not Evident (0%) Value Cover Page and Executive Summary Meets “Proficient” criteria and does not include any extraneous details Prefaces paper with a cover page (or other audience-appropriate heading) and brief executive summary of the social problem and legislation being considered using language and format appropriate for the intended audience Prefaces paper with a cover page (or other audience-appropriate heading) and brief executive summary of the social problem and legislation being considered, but does not use language and format appropriate for the intended audience Does not preface paper with a cover page (or other audienceappropriate heading) or brief executive summary of the problem and legislation 5.75 Background: Events Meets “Proficient” criteria and examples selected are relevant without providing unnecessary detail Accurately examines how major social, political, and economic events and other legislation have impacted legislation around the social issue and provides specific examples Examines how major, social, political, and economic events and other legislation have impacted legislation around the social issue, but analysis is inaccurate or does not provide specific examples Does not examine major social, political, and economic events and other legislation around the social issue 5.75
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